Before, and After

When Jeni from Joy and Woe shared her 'before and after', we knew we had to include it as our 17th Love Mum Body post. Mums, suck it in...

This was originally written in April 2012 but updated in July 2012 for Story of Mum‘s Love Mum-Body project.  It should be obvious that if I wasn’t a mum, I wouldn’t have this tum, and that, most days, I wouldn’t trade my kids for any bikini-ready lumplessness.  I hope that mothers new and old can find some comfort in my “before and after” photos.  If nothing else, let the minute it takes you to read this serve as one less minute spent watching crappy TV and hating your body.  

I watch a lot of crappy TV, including infomercials. Worse yet, diet/exercise infomercials.

And every time I see a before-and-after photo, I want to throw my expensive television out the window, because COME ON, PEOPLE, think about what you’re seeing.

You might be seeing legitimate weight loss. You could be seeing some muscle toning. Odds are pretty good that you’re seeing some “bloat” in the before, and less in the after. You might be seeing better posture, a more flattering outfit. You might be seeing some artful Photoshopping. You could be seeing the result of hundreds of hours spent exercising, or hundreds of “customized meal plans” consumed. You are almost certainly looking at thousands of dollars spent.

Or you could be seeing this:

  before and after sucking in

This is me, this morning, in mah underpants.

The difference between the photo on the left — in which I could pass for first-trimester pregnant — and the photo on the right, is that in the first image I’m sticking out my gut, and in the second I’m sucking it in. THAT IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE.

If you were to run into me on the street, and it was one of those rare occasions where I didn’t have a baby strapped to my chest, you’d see that the reality is somewhere in between the two. I do try to “suck it in” more often than not, because that tends to improve my posture. But sometimes, depending on the jeans, it also makes my pants fall down, so I choose my moments.

What’s my point?

In both photos, I weigh the same. The number on the scale didn’t change. In both photos, I can run 5, probably 10, kilometres without feeling like I’m going to die. In both photos, my body is capable of meeting the primary nutritional needs of a 10-month-old baby.

My point is that there is no substitute for being fit. And that fitness comes in many, many, many more shapes and sizes than you believe that it does, if you can be honest with yourself about how you view the world.

My point is that there is no substitute for self-love, and that the woman on the right — who is still too chunky to be a plus-sized model, by the way — isn’t any smarter, or funnier, or more interesting than the “before” version.

Which makes sense, since the photos were taken three seconds apart.

If you’ve taken the time to read this all, thank you. Please remember this post next time you pass by a mirror and say, or think of yourself, something unflattering. Remember, internet, that I got near-naked to make a point.

Suck it in.

Or don’t.

I like you either way.

Before, and after.


About Love Mum-Body

This month on story of mum, we’re sharing photos of how our bodies have changed since we became mums and grandmums. You can photograph your actual body, or you can shape your body in plasticine. We don’t mind how you share it, as long as you do your very best to love it.

For some more inspiration, check out the guest posts we’ve had so far:

My Body Is... Pippa Best @storyofmum

My Mom-Body in Poetry: Sonya Cisco @sonyacisco

Honouring all our Mama-Bodies: Lyndsay Kirkham @hisveganmama

I Earned My Stripes: Becky Gower @mummyadventure

Post-Baby Perfect? Adele Jarrett-Kerr @AdeleJK

Worrying about Nipples: Tattooed Mummy @Tattooed_Mummy

When you can't love your Mum-Body: Emma @TheRealSupermum

Love it. Period: Lisa Hassan Scott @lisahassanscott

Baring my truth: my mummy tummy: Ericka Waller @ErickaWaller1

You show me yours...: Chelsea Williams @MsMummyofTwo

What's not to love?: Kate Ladd @MakeshiftMummy

Trying!: Helen Tiplady @helentiplady

Battling My Body: Kirsty Curran @raspberryswirls

Trying to be proud of my Mum-Body: Catherine Jennings @BELLA_and_WILL

I've never much liked my body: Kate Holmes-Davis @kateonthinice

Dear Body Image@LadyCurd

Before, and After: Jeni @Joyandwoe